Brasil Telecom has reported a robust set of figures for the year ending 31 December 2003, with the company suggesting that results for 2004 will be even better thanks to last-month’s launch of long-distance and international telephony services and the anticipated roll out of wireless services in June. Gross revenue for the year climbed 12.6% to BRL11.08 billion, while net revenue grew 11.9% to BRL7.9 billion. EBITDA slipped 0.9% to BRL3.30 billion while net profit fell by 67.2% to BRL145.1 million thanks to a number of one off financial charges. These included a BRL245 million provision for labour disputes at the company’s Rio Grande do Sul division CRT, a BRL34.9 million charge for bad debt and a BRL46.3 million charge for employee profit sharing.
At the end of 2003 Brasil Telecom’s fixed line network had a capacity of 10.69 million main lines. Of the 9.85 million in service, 7.16 million were connected to residential customers, 1.57 million to non-residential customers, 296,000 were payphones, with the remainder made up of pre-paid lines, PBXs and other additional lines. The number of ADSL accesses in service increased by over 100% during the year to 281,900.
Brasil Telecom Celular, the group’s nascent wireless operation, had installed 146 base stations by the end of 2003, giving it coverage of more than 50% of the metropolitan area in six cities in Region II. It is planning to launch in May or June this year and is expecting to sign up one million customers in its first year of operation, most of whom will be pre-paid. The subsidiary also confirmed that it is considering bidding for a mobile licence to operate in Sao Paulo, with analysts predicting that it could table a joint bid with Telemar. According to telecoms regulator Anatel, licences to operate in Sao Paulo could be up for grabs as early as April.